I've been on a mission to make nut free granola bars lately because most of the bars that are free of our allergens have an advisory statement ("May contain peanuts").
The only nut free bars that I have come across without cross-contamination with the rest of the top 8 allergens are made by Enjoy Life (we're big fans of all things Enjoy Life at our house and, no, I haven't been paid to write that!) The only problem is, we have a hard time keeping enough of those bars in our house (my son could easily eat two in a sitting) so it's nice to be able to make a pan on my own.
I found this super quick and easy granola bar recipe which is free of the top 8 allergens so it's a great option. As a Registered Dietitian, however, I am always telling people to include some protein with their snacks so I wanted to sneak some protein into these bars. I added some sunflower butter, sunflower seeds and rice protein powder. Oatmeal being the main ingredient in these bars makes them a good source of fiber but I added some flax seed meal to add some extra fiber and other beneficial nutrients. This is a snack that is free of the top 8 allergens and is nutritious, too!
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil (canola, vegetable, grapeseed, etc)
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup flax seed meal
2/3 cup sunflower butter
1/4 cup protein powder, optional
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
3 cups rolled oats
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with safe cooking spray.
2) In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil and molasses; mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, water, sunflower butter, protein powder and flax seed meal; mix well. Mix in the oats and sunflower seeds. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. Tip: I find that hands that have a little water on them work well for pressing the mixture into the pan (no sticking!)
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. When completely cooled, cut into squares and serve or keep in an airtight container (they'll keep for about a week - if there's any left!).
Makes 24 bars.
Nutrition Facts: Serving size: 1 bar, calories: 144, carbohydrates: 17 , Total fat: 6 grams, protein: 6 grams, fiber: 3